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Modernising PES Through Supportive Data and IT Strategies

Project summary

Big data is a fairly new development in the world of Public Employment Services. Even though PES have long been data-processing organisations, the use of data for other purposes (e.g. innovation or performance management) is still fairly new. At the same are developments in this field going rapidly, offering great potential for PES to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their organisations. 

In this project we explore the possibilities and challenges regarding the use of (big) data and new technologies in PES. The goal of the paper is fourfold, the first is to analyse the (historical) developments that have brought PES to where they are now. The second is to analyse the current status quo. How are PES using data, how are they modernising and how are they sharing and integrating data within and between organisations? The third is to start looking forward. What are the current trends and developments and what are PES planning for the future? Lastly, we look at barriers and perceived risks.

Building on these lessons we subsequently developed a toolkit for PES to help them get started with and use (big) data as well as advanced analytics.


The world of Public Employment Service (PES) organisations is changing rapidly. Not only are societal changes impacting how, where and when people work, technological developments are creating new channels to deliver services and improve processes, and new possibilities to collect and analyse data have the potential to change how PES measure their performance and better serve their clients. PES are trying to figure out how the different (external) developments are impacting their organisations. 

Although, there are many different developments and, given how intertwined they are, they are not always easily separable. However, we can roughly discriminate between the following developments:

  1. The first is the changing views on how PES (and governments in a broader sense) need to be run. Public sector agencies need to work more cost-efficiently and effectively.
  2.  The second, is a broader set of societal changes that will impact PES in years to come. These include things like the increased mobility of job-seekers and how technology (e.g. Robotics) will impact the labour markets in which PES operate.
  3. The third and partially driven by the first two, is the ongoing IT evolution. Digitalisation is increasing in most areas of general life and PES are following suit. Digitalisation is generally accepted to be a lower cost service delivery
    option for many clients, and one which improves processes.
  4. The fourth is that this digitalisation should allow large amounts of data to be extracted that can be used to a) experiment with new or improved processes and b) improve the functioning of systems. 

Exactly how these developments will impact PES remains to be seen. One key reason is that there are many challenges. The PES playing field is, for example, complicated.

The project

Goal of the project was twofold:

  1. To help PES understand the developments in (big) data, as well as its underlying causes and trends
  2. To provide practical guidance for PES who want to get started with big data and analytics

Our role

We provided a number of services in the project:

  1. We facilitated a mutual learning seminar in Zagreb, Croatia for PES to come together and learn about the topic
  2. We created an analytical paper about the subject in which we analyse trends and developments, as well as frame them in the context of public employment services.
  3. We developed a toolkit (with ICF) in which we provide practical guidance for PES.


Related content

Digitalisation in PES 

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